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The Woman in Black
The Woman in Black (DVD)
Member Name: funzo
The Woman in Black (DVD)
Date: 10/03/12, updated on 31/12/12 (82 review reads)
Advantages: Decent Enough Hammer-made Boo-Jump Thriller
Disadvantages: Not in the same class as The Others
When you are in a relationship with someone from a very different background, in my case London suburb vs Santiago suburb, one of the joys of the internet, and let's face it there are many, can be the sharing of different films and tv series that you loved throughout your years. So far, I've been treated to Chilean Telethon and Vina Del mar (Annual Music Festival - (think Live Aid without the charity) Whilst i was watching Supergran, pressgang and grange hill, 'er indoors was watching a group of scantily clad dancers tripping the light fantastic to a variety of exotic and dance styles, the common dominator of which being that they would all receive a barrage of complaints should they be shown pre-watershed on Factor X, or whatever the kids call it. Anyway, the point I am making is that the Woman in Black was one of those films that stood out when I was a kid and when I downloaded it to show and share a 'scary film from my youth' Saturday evening this was the film I chose. She wasn't very impressed. The film didn't stand the test of time too well and in an age of gore and effects the film from the 80's looked its age. With this in mind, I was excited to see a remake starring Daniel Radcliffe - yes, Harry Potter himself, and set about watching the film at the earliest opportunity laden with high expectations.
The Woman in Black is the name of the name of the 1983 novel by Susan Hill that was adapted for the screen by Jane Goldman (Wossy's missus), directed by James Watkins (Eden Lake) and made by Hammer Studios (British Horror Legends). In a time when gore and disturbance reign supreme in the cinematic world of horror, films such as The Woman in Black, The Others and The Orphanage stand out because they rely on old fashioned suspense and a good creepy twist or two. Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) is a young lawyer recovering from the death of his wife who died whilst giving birth to his son. Having been sent by his employers to some far-flung village to sort out the papers of the recently deceased owner Mrs Drablow of Eel Marsh, a big old fashioned scary gothic house accessible only when the tide permits, Kipps embarks upon a journey off frightening discovery.
I want to start the critique by saying that there is much to be admired in the exemplary cinematography in The Woman in Black and credit is due to Tim Maurice-Jones, a close associate of Guy Ritchie - they worked on Lock, Stock..., Snatch and Revolver - for providing a distinctly well shot movie dripping with classic Roger Corman-esqe creepiness. Maurice-Jones who was also responsible for the cinematography for the critically acclaimed and imho a visually and a memorably stunning White Lightning (2009,) captures the dark forbiddance that oozes from the eerie Eel Marsh
If you are a fan of the old school classic boo-jump horrors, you will not be disappointed; plenty to make you jump off your seat and a good few moments to get the 'ol ticker working as you follow the Kipps character unravel a series of mysterious and deadly events. Radcliffe puts in a sterling performance and if this film is anything to go by, he looks more than capable of shaking off those Harry Potter chains. Ciaran Hyndes puts in a good solid turn as Simon Daily, the first car owner of the county and whose wife - played admirably by Janet McTeer - has gone mad following the death of their son. The plot unravels at a good pace, if only a bit too slow at the beginning and the momentum and the suspense gather nicely towards an atmospheric end that differs from the book. This has proven to be pretty decisive but without wanting to give anything away that would detract from your enjoyment, the ending has been 'Hollywood-ized' a little but to any length that detracts noticeably from the film. True, the ending could've had more 'oomph' but this was a Hammer film; gothic creepy films with the odd good shock and some things that will catch your fright, not a modern-day gory horror that will make your stomach turn.
There is plenty to like about this old-fashioned boo-jump movie; well shot, well acted and well told. It doesn't disturb you like some horrors but you leave the film with a faster beating heart. The special effects were a little hit and miss but that was only highlighted by the excellent cinematography. A good film but not a great one, it is best enjoyed with a full or as near to full cinematic experience as possible, to really get the most out of the limited (there could have been more and they could have been more powerful) shock moments but for an evenings entertainment it wasn't bad at all.
Verdict - A good film well made by the bastions of British horror - Hammer Films with solid acting and great locations. The Woman in Black offers something different to the modern day horror film and although this is not going to go down as one of the very best 'boo-jump' films, it is certainly watchable enough, with an appeal for all ages (except those too young!)
Runtime 95 mins
Summary: The creepy story of a young lawyer unraveling the mysterious history of Eel Marsh